Tag Archive for: Brenna Pauly

Brenna Pauly (centre) on the podium

Last weekend PCC athlete Brenna Pauly competed in the last race of the Vancouver Island Gravel Series, the Burnt Bridge Classic. Here is her race report.

I have done a lot of gravel riding where the Burnt Bridge Classic is located but had never done a couple of the climbs there. Five kilometres into the race we hit the first major climb and I decided to ride tempo up the climb. I ended up riding away from the group and kept the momentum over the climb.

The course offered lots of variety of terrain and beautiful scenery which I was able to take in. I set a steady pace, passing riders that started in the earlier categories. With 15 kilometres to go there was a steep loose climb and rocky decent that was the last technical part of the race before six kilometres of rail trail to finish. After 70 kilometres of solo riding, I crossed the finish line winning the women’s race.  It was a great day of racing for all, with many smiling faces crossing the finishing line!

The 2021 BC Road Provincial Championships. Photo by TLBVelo Photography

Despite a disrupted race season PCC athlete Brenna Pauly has been busy occupying her time from adventure riding to road racing. 

Just like last year 2021 has been another unconventional year for bike racing. The theme of adaptability has come up on numerous occasions. I think it is an important lesson that can be taken away from this year both on and off the bike. While I thought I had already learnt that lesson, I was proved that I needed a little reminder.

The first part of the 2021 season started off like 2020. Cancelled bike races and ever-changing public health restrictions left lots of time to train and adventure by bike. I took to the gravel roads and continued to explore my own backyard. It amazes me that there are still many new routes to explore. With the anticipated return or racing in July, I undertook one last adventure for a little while. The second edition of the summer solstice ride. A gravel loop starting and ending in Victoria and heading west towards Jordan River, up to Lake Cowichan and back. Riding from dawn until dark on gravel roads the day went flawlessly. So smoothly that upon returning to Victoria with just over 300km on the odometer we decided to continue on to complete 320km (200 miles).

Brenna (left) with her Red Truck team at the provincials. Photo by TLBVelo Photography.

I then switched my focus to racing. Starting off small with local VCL races and building to the provincial championships and Tour de Concord over the last few weeks. While it has been so positive seeing teammates and friends and racing again, the path has been a little bumpy. Just when I thought I was gaining momentum race dates changed and got cancelled. It was frustrating at first to feel like we were going backwards again, but with Houshang’s help and a bike packing trip to remind me to just have fun riding, I am back on track. I am currently preparing for the National Road and Time trial championships in Quebec from September 10-12th. I am looking forward to putting all the training to use, and racing against some of the best in the country!

 

In another post in our Training during a Pandemic series PCC athlete Brenna Pauly, found the time to explore trails and rack up mega miles on her bike.

While the last few months have redefined the meaning of “normal”, it has been easy to mourn the loss of so many events and races that usually define the summer racing calendar. For me things started to change when I was on my way home from two months of warm weather training in Arizona. I got an email saying that our team camp that was scheduled to happen in a couple weeks in California was cancelled. At this time, it seemed like a premature decision, but in hindsight it was the best call that the team could have made.

 

No one could have predicted what would follow in the coming days, as one race after the next got cancelled and the rules surrounding our day to day lives shifted. While at first the thought of not having a race season after spending the winter preparing for one was very disappointing, my bike became the only constant in the ever-changing world during the pandemic.

I fell into a “COVID routine” which entailed packing my bar bag full of snacks and pointing my bike in the direction of the road the least travelled. I realized quickly that all of my winter training was not going to be lost, just shifted to using it to adventure. I got to explore the roads less travelled around southern Vancouver Island during a time that I usually am far away from home. Having that mental shift made me able to push the limits of my endurance training all while having fun.

 

 

I always knew that I loved riding my bike, but these last few months have solidified that for me. With no races on the horizon I shifted back into building that endurance base. I have now ridden almost as much in six months as I would in a year and have done my three longest rides ever over the last four months culminating in the craziest and hardest bike ride I have ever done – 290 km of gravel logging roads from Lake Cowichan to Port Alberni and back in one day. I knew that I was physically prepared, but three flats and two hike-a-bike sections in the first 80 km of a route with limited bail out options left me testing my mental strength on the bike. It is definitely a ride that I would have never even thought possible last year, and one that I will not forget for a long time. I am already planning the next one.

So, while 2020 has been more different than anyone could have ever predicted, I have also had many opportunities come up that were not possible in other years. I think I am more excited now to get back to racing when it is safe and in whatever capacity possible. With time trials starting again I look forward to putting all that riding into going fast on the bike!